Iran adds to criticism of US-trained Kurdish force in Syria
02:11, Jan 17, 2018
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In an interview published Tuesday with Kurdish news agency ANF, YPG chief Sipan Hemo said his forces stood "ready" to defend those towns against a Turkish assault.
The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish YPG, and the plan for the force dashes Turkish hopes that the USA would abandon the YPG once the war against Islamic State came to an end.
USA plans to help an allied Kurdish-led militia set up a 30,000-strong "border security force" have been severely criticised by Turkey and Russian Federation.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later told the visiting Syrian parliament speaker that the USA plan is a "plot" against Syria's territorial integrity and security, according to comments posted on the president's website.
The move is part of the United States-led effort against the Islamic State group often called IS. "Currently, there are approximately 230 individuals training in the BSF's inaugural class, with the goal of a final force size of approximately 30,000", a spokesman for the US-led coalition, US Army Col. Ryan Dillon, told CNN in a statement.
On Monday, the Turkish president accused the U.S. of "creating a terror army" and said it was the duty of his government to "suffocate" the force. Turkey considers them to be terrorists due to their ties to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey. "What can that terror army target but Turkey?"
The area in question runs along the southern border of Turkey with Syria.
Iran adds to criticism of US-trained Kurdish force in Syria
Turkey has long protested the US support for the PYD/PKK, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing PYG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.
Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad, denounced the nascent US force and said anyone who cooperates with it is a "traitor" who would meet defeat and death. However, the US-led coalition is supporting the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and YPG in the Syrian conflict. However, it said that the matter was an issue for the anti-IS coalition led by the U.S.
Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, said it would shortly mount an assault on the Kurdish-held Syrian town of Afrin, close to the Turkish border.
"They will be providing border security through professionally securing checkpoints and conducting counter-IED operations", the coalition told Reuters, adding that coalition and SDF forces were still engaging remaining ISIS fighters in Deir al-Zor province.
Erdogan also says Turkey's military deployed at the border with Syria is now striking Syrian Kurdish fighters heavy artillery, "at the moment hitting them with howitzers and we will continue to strike them".
Qasemi urged all United States forces to leave Syria immediately.
Russian Federation also opposed the plan, saying it could lead to the partitioning of Syria.
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